Monthly Archives: April 2012

“Shoot The Hills” Photography contest

Lake Hope after sunset - Click image to enlarge

Last weekend for the second year in a row I participated in the 11th annual “Shoot The Hills” photography contest.  I had a great time and would highly recommend the contest for those of you living in Ohio and surrounding states.  The contest is a lot of fun, staffed by friendly people, and well organized.  At the very least, it’s a great reason to go out and photograph in a beautiful place with a lot of fellow photographers!  This year the contest reached a significant milestone, it exceeded 200 registered photographers!  “Shoot The Hills” is the official fundraiser of the Friends of the Hocking Hills State Park located in Hocking County in southeastern Ohio.  All proceeds are used to build and maintain photo-friendly wildlife blinds and habitats within the park.  These special areas include nesting boxes and feeding stations for local and migrating waterfowl and wildlife, a gazebo-style hut on Rose Lake, and a butterfly habitat and garden.

The contest is open to pros and amateurs alike, but digital entries must be captured within a specified 24-hour period (noon Friday to noon Saturday) and have been made within the four-county coverage area (Athens, Fairfield, Hocking and Vinton counties) of the Hocking Hills Region.  There are 2 major divisions, digital point-and-shoot, and digital SLR with 5 judged categories in each division; Abstract, Flora, Human Interest, Landscape, and Wildlife.  There is also a Photographer’s Choice category as well as a Print Contest.


Broad leaf grass with rain droplets - Click image to enlarge

Weather for the Friday half of the contest was beautiful with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s, but unfortunately the weather was not nearly as nice on Saturday with rain and much cooler temperatures.  Rain gear for photographers and their equipment was a necessity!

Over the course of the 24-hour shooting period I captured about 170 images, most of which I was pleased with.  My best images were captured just after sunset around Lake Hope in Vinton County and on Saturday morning in the rain at Rose Lake and Old Man’s Cave Gorge.  Unfortunately I did not come away a winner in any of the categories, but I had a lot of fun!  All the photos submitted were great, and judging a contest like this would be a tough job!  I’m definitely going back next year and hope to capture a winning photo!

To find out more about “Shoot The Hills,” visit their official website here.

You can see more of my Hocking Hills images including my contest entries in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in Ohio State Park, Weekly Column Tagged |

More from Yosemite

Sunset view of Yosemite Valley - Click image to enlarge

Every so often I take the time to look through images I’ve taken, and as much as the images remind me of a particular place and time, it’s a learning experience as well.  It always seems like I see something different in almost every image and think of a certain feeling or experience when I look at again after not seeing it for a while.  Next month it will have been 4 years since I visited Yosemite National Park, and after looking through all the images I took there, it seems like it was only yesterday that I was there.  As I stated in my previous post on Yosemite here, it is a stunningly beautiful place.  Whether you are a photographer or not, you just have to go there and experience it.  Christopher Robinson, Editor of Outdoor Photographer Magazine, says in his “In This Issue” column of the May 2012 issue that “Yosemite National Park is the George Clooney of the nature photography universe.  Its celebrity is unparalleled, it’s instantly recognized, and photographers flock to the iconic park in droves, jostling for spots to capture the view of the valley like paparazzi wrestling for a place near the red carpet of a film premier.”  Christopher goes on to say that he recently heard an interview with Clooney that made him think of a comparison to Yosemite.  As an international superstar, Clooney has no privacy, and just like Yosemite, everyone wants to take his picture.  What he has observed is that whether he’s saying hello to a fan or signing an autograph, the person has a camera phone sticking up, shooting video or snapping pictures.  Clooney’s observation was spot on when he said, “I think most people are experiencing less and recording more.”  My point in mentioning this is that as photographers we want to capture all the iconic images of great places like Yosemite, but we have to be sure to experience the place while we there.  Put down your camera for a few moments, listen to the sounds, smell the smells, and let your eyes take in the sights around you.  When you pick up your camera again, I guarantee you that you’ll take better images!

Upper Yosemite Falls from the valley - Click image to enlarge


Reflections - Click image to enlarge

Except for the Yosemite Valley Sunset, the other images were taken during the last few hours of our time in Yosemite.  Several times a day the Ansel Adams Gallery sponsors a photography walk with a gallery photographer.  During a fun and informative 2 hour walk around Cook’s Meadow in Yosemite Valley, the gallery photographer gives many great tips on how to set up and photograph various subjects during the walk.  It was great just wandering around the valley for a few hours.  I mostly listened and looked around as we walked, trying to take in the last few moments of my Yosemite “experience.”

You can see more of my Yosemite images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in National Parks, Weekly Column Tagged , , |


World #2 Rafa Nadal - Click image to enlarge

In a significant departure from my usual landscape photography subject matter, I thought I would share some sports photography today. My wife and I are both avid tennis players and enjoy watching professional tennis.  Fortunately, the ATP men’s and WTA women’s professional tours have a top level tournament stop at the Western and Southern Financial Cincinnati Masters every August, just north of Cincinnati Ohio.  Since it’s a master’s level tournament we get to watch all the top men and women players.  The Lindner Family Tennis Center where the tournament is held has been remodeled and expanded over the last several years and for the first time in 2011 hosted both the ATP men’s and WTA women’s tournaments as a combined event.  If you like world class tennis and photography, it’s a fantastic opportunity to see and photograph the world’s best men and women players!


American Venus Williams - Click image to enlarge

Except for the main center court, the other show courts have open seating so you can get close enough to some great action shots with a moderate 200mm telephoto lens.  I usually use my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L zoom  lens with a 1.4x extender which gives me a lot of flexibility depending on how close to the court I am.  One year I rented a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L lens and had a lot of fun shooting with it.  The lens is a monster and impossible to hand hold for more than a few minutes so a monopod is a must.  While shooting around the practice courts with it, another fan asked me if I worked for Sports Illustrated and even moved aside for me so I could get closer….I guess I looked like a real pro, so there are some definite advantages to carrying around a big lens like that!  The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L lens is beautiful, and the images are razor sharp, but it got awfully heavy by the end of the day.  I’d love to own one, but they aren’t cheap and are well beyond what my photography budget can afford!

You can see more of my tennis images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in Sports, Weekly Column Tagged , , |

Lake Tahoe


Lake Tahoe with Carson Range in distance - Click image to enlarge

My wife and I visited Lake Tahoe in May, 2008 on a vacation that included other beautiful locations such as San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument, and Yosemite National Park.  As you can see in the above image, Lake Tahoe is stunning, and yes it really is that blue!  During our visit, we spent the day driving all the way around the lake and this view is one of my favorites.  The timing of our visit was such that I could only photograph during the mid-day hours, which is not be best time, but I made the most of the opportunity anyway.  This location would be great at sunset, so I will definitely have to go back!  In this particular image, I used the foreground rocks to add depth to the image allowing the viewer to start with these rocks, see the rocks under the water and then travel out across the lake to the Carson mountains in the distance.  I used a polarizing filter to reduce the reflections on the water to reveal the rocks underneath.  The filter also darkened the sky which added a little more contrast.

It is commonly believed that Lake Tahoe is of volcanic origin, but the lake was actually formed by faulting – fractures in the earth’s crust allowing blocks of land to rise and sink.  Over several million years two principal steep faults evolved, the eastern margin created the Carson Range while the Sierra Nevada mountains rose on the western side.  Fed by snow, rain, and draining creeks and rivers, Lake Tahoe formed near the southern and lowest part of the basin.

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, 22 miles long and 12 miles wide with 72 miles of shoreline.  Two-thirds of the lake is in the state of California and one-third is in the state of Nevada.  It is the third deepest lake in North America, and the tenth deepest in the world.  Its greatest measured depth is 1,645 feet and averages 1,000 feet.  In North America, Crater Lake in Oregon at 1,930 feet, and the Great Slave Lake in Canada at 2,101 feet are deeper.  The water temperature at the surface varies from about 40° F in winter to 70° F in summer, and below 700 feet it is a constant 39° F.  The lake is so clear because 40% of the precipitation falling into the Lake Tahoe basin lands directly on the lake.  The remaining precipitation drains through the decomposed granite soils found in marshes and meadows, creating a good filtering system.

You can see more of my Lake Tahoe images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in Photographic Technique, Weekly Column Tagged , |